Not many actors have such a storied and deep filmography that transcends pop culture and Academy Award status. Anthony Mackie happens to be one of Hollywood’s most retable actors. From his famous, now meme’d, role of rap villain Papa Doc in 8 Mile to taking on the iconic mantle as Captain America in the MCU, Mackie has done justly about every film genre under the sun.
Outside of films, Mackie can be as charming as the world’s most eligible bachelor. The MCU actor knows how to work a press room and knows just enough about pop culture to be engaging with fans. While known as the Falcon/Sam Wilson in the major MCU, Mackie’s best work comes from lesser-seen films that still hold up. When not swinging his red, white and blue shield, Mackie can be seen flexing his acting chops in various ways.
10 ‘We Are Marshall’ (2006)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 49%
The film follows the story of the aftermath of the 1971 plane crash that claimed the lives of the Marshall University football team and five airport crew members. We Are Marshall follows a community trying to rebuild their football program and community in the process.
Mackie gives a modest performance in the touching drama sports film led by Matthew McConaughey. We Are Marshall takes the best parts of sports-driven films and add ever-growing tense moments throughout the film.
9 ‘The Night Before’ (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%
Seth Rogen, Joesph Gordon Levitt and Mackie star in the raunchy holiday cult classic, The Night Before. The film follows as the three stars as best friends who spend the night searching for the best holiday party during the holiday season.
Seth Rogen takes his raunchy late-night comedy formula to add a rewatchable Christmastime film. Among the many holiday theme jokes and chaos, the film also pays tribute to classic Christmas films. With many laughs and hidden cameos, Levitt, Rogen and Mackie play well off each other.
8 ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%
Matt Damon and Emily Blunt star inThe Adjustment Bureau, a nonstop suspense thriller that wrestles with the theme of free will. The ill-fated lovers, a politician and dancer, began their journey on the run when a shadowy controls the life of the promising political figure.
The Adjustment Bureau dives deep into the realm of conspiracy while blending elements of romance. Mackie gives a sounding co star role as an agent of the Adjustment Bureau which kicks off an unpredictable chain of events. The film was greatly received during its box office run.
7 ‘8 Mile’ (2002)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
Rapper Marshal ‘Eminem’ Mathers makes his feature film debut in8 Milealongside Anthony Mackie. Loosely based on his life growing up in Detroit, Eminem plays the role of up-and-coming rapper, B Rabbit, as he fights for respect in his city. Mackie plays Papa Doc, the leader of the rival rap crew.
8 Mile is the perfect underdog story for any aspiring artist looking to pursue their dreams. The film soundtrack features Eminem’s original music, including “Lose Yourself” which won an Oscar for Best Original Song. The film has also stood the test of time in the eyes of Mackie’s Papa Doc character.
6 ‘The Banker’ (2020)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%
The Banker sees Mackie teaming up with fellow MCU co-star Samuel L. Jacksonfor an inspiring underdog period film. Based on the real-life of Joe Morris and Barnard Garrett, the United States’ first African American bankers. The film follows the two through a period of finical and systemic racism as they work to achieve their dreams.
Mackie and Jackson take off their costumes and step into the heighten racial tension of the 1960s. The two stars gave profound performances that may have been overlooked during its limited theatrical run.
5 ‘Detroit’ (2017)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
Mackie gives another stellar performance in a period drama film. Detroit follows the true story of the Algiers Motel Incident during the 1967 Detroit riots due to racial tensions. The film goes into detail about that fatal night that left three African Americans dead and several with psychical and emotional scarring.
Detroit showcases great performances from Will Poulter, John Boyega and Jacob Latimore. The pace of the film continues to pick up until the end credits while delivering on intense emotion. Detriot offers up a dark story apart from a dark chapter in American history.
4 ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
The third installment of the Captain America franchise brings in some heavy MCU hitters for a film overshadowed with darker tones. In the aftermath of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers are kept in check by a world security council and their set of rules. The rules puts Avenger against Avenger with leaders Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), in favor of government oversight, against Captain America (Chris Evans), who think government oversight is wrong.
The film leads to a non-stop action-packed thriller featuring some of the MCU’s biggest stars. With the proper introduction of the MCU’s Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Civil War remains one of Marvel’s best films.
3 ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
In the second installment of the Captain America franchise, Captain America/Steve Rogers comes face to face with his past in the form of the deadly assassin known as The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Along with fellow Avenger, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie), the three uncover a worldwide conspiracy.
The film takes a step away from the funny traditional Marvel plotline for a more serious take on political and world order themes. In the midst, Marvel does a great job with introducing two MCU mainstays while wrapping up a few plots from previous films.
2 ‘Half Nelson’ (2006)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Ryan Gosling and Mackie co-star in a touching heartfelt story about redemption in the most unexpected places. Gosling plays an addicted high school teacher who forms an unlikely mentor/friendship with one of his students.
Half Nelson gave way to some of Mackie’s stellar supporting performance while Gosling excels in his role. For his role, Gosling was nominated for Best Lead Actor at the 2007 Oscars.
1 ‘The Hurt Locker’ (2008)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
A realistic look into the lives of American soldiers in the Iraqi War, The Hurt Locker focuses on a new recently assigned sergeant U.S. bomb disposal team as they navigate the war’s final weeks. The sergeant and the group begin to butt heads over work methods. The film is a tribute to the many scarifies the U.S. military on the frontline.
The film helped make their leads, Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie, big names in Hollywood. The film went on to win an Oscar for Best Picture. The Hurt Locker remains one of Hollywood’s best looks into modern war.
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